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House votes to table (kill) impeachment resolution

17 juillet[ —]

Texas Rep. Al Green introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump this week. Today, the House voted against them.

The vote was to table, or kill, impeachment.


Feds say Jeffrey Epstein's weird passport was used multiple times

17 juillet[ —]

Government prosecutors just revealed new details about that super suspicious passport —- his photo, different name -- Jeffrey Epstein kept hidden in a safe..

Epstein's lawyers previously said the government did not offer evidence that Epstein had used the passport.

Not so fast, say federal prosecutors.

“In fact, the passport contains numerous ingress and egress stamps, that reflect use of the passport to enter France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia in the 1990s.”

Epstein's lawyers said in a previous filing he had the doctored passport in case he encountered hijackers or terrorists.

Mr. Epstein and his attorneys have some splaining to do.


Google kills 'Project Dragonfly' China search engine project

17 juillet[ —]

Google's VP of public policy, Karan Bhatia, today told the US Senate the company has “terminated” Project Dragonfly, its localized search engine project for China.

“We have terminated Project Dragonfly,” Bhatia said of the search app for people in China that Google was reported to be working on in 2018.

Bhatia was responding to Republican senator Josh Hawley's questions about Google’s business with China.

Davey Alba at BuzzFeed News writes the company didn't rule out the possibilities of doing other projects for China, now or in the future.

Google's press office, however, is still using to softer language with reporters “Repeating the line that there's 'no work being undertaken on such a project,' ” said The Intercept's Ryan Gallagher.

More from Buzzfeed News:

Bhatia’s statement is the first public mention that Project Dragonfly has been “terminated,” although Google said in response to questions from BuzzFeed News that Karan’s comments did not reflect a new development. A company spokesperson pointed to its statement in a March 2019 story published in the Verge: “As we’ve said for many months, we have no plans to launch Search in China and there is no work being undertaken on such a project. Team members have moved to new projects.”

When asked whether “terminated” meant Google would not launch a censored search app in China in the future, the spokesperson said, “We have no plans to launch Search in China and there is no work being undertaken on such a project.”

Most Google employees only learned of the secretive program when the Intercept published a report about the code-named project in August. Leaked information about the project prompted a backlash from the company’s rank and file — and it wasn’t the first instance of discord within Google over a government contract.

[via techmeme, photo at top modified from Wikimedia Commons]


Scan of a 1921 book about insects

17 juillet[ —]

Public Domain Review calls our attention to the gorgeously illustrated 1921 Fabre’s Book of Insects.

Like Jacques Cousteau in the twentieth century, Fabre’s greatest accomplishment was perhaps to have brought out the beauty and drama in the lives of creatures that had hitherto been regarded with horror, if regarded at all. He turned his attention not just to bees, whose praises have of course been sung since the classical era, but to wasps, weevils, ants, glow-worms, caterpillars, and cicadas. He also sometimes wrote about wild flora and fauna, and in one rare chapter about his cats — all in prose characterized, a little like Cousteau’s, by a well-informed wonder at the natural world, appealing to both children and adults:

Few insects enjoy more fame than the Glow-worm, the curious little animal who celebrates the joy of life by lighting a lantern at its tail-end. We all know it, at least by name, even if we have not seen it roaming through the grass, like a spark fallen from the full moon. The Greeks of old called it the Bright-tailed, and modern science gives it the name Lampyris.


If you are planning on buying a Nintendo Switch, wait until next month for the new model

17 juillet[ —]

Here's a tip: if you're thinking of getting a Nintendo Switch -- skip the current model (HAC-001) and wait for the HAC-001(-01), which offers significantly improved battery life.

From Ars Technica:

Switch model HAC-001-01 will last approximately 4.5 to 9 hours on a single charge, depending on the game being played, according to Nintendo. That's a 38 to 80 percent increase from the 2.5 to 6.5 hours of the original model HAC-001. For The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo promises an increase from approximately three hours of single-charge play on the old model to approximately 5.5 hours on the new model. For comparison, the Switch Lite will get three to seven hours on a single charge, and it can last four hours on Breath of the Wild, according to Nintendo.


Instant Pot at a very low price

https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-Multi-Use-Programmable-Pressure/dp/B00FLYWNYQ?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAI7YNKHYQQBPVQ3WQ&tag=boingboing&linkCode=alb&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B00FLYWNYQplay episode download
17 juillet[ —]

Hardly a day goes by that I don't use my Instant Pot to make chili, curry, soup, or yogurt. I paid about $100, but right now this 6-quart model is just $49.99, which is the lowest price I've seen for it.


"Unpickable" padlock picked in 15 seconds

17 juillet[ —]

The Europa Disc Padlock Picked (Model P-370) is advertised as "UNPICKABLE" by the manufacturer. It took the Lockpicking Lawyer 15 seconds to open it using basic lockpicking tools.

Image: YouTube


This AI turns your headshot into a portrait painted by a master

17 juillet[ —]

AI Portraits does an amazing job of creating original portraits based on photos of faces. The generative network was trained with 45,000 portrait images.

"Not only colors, but shapes, the lines of the face are completely redesigned by the model. In the above example, the model decides upon a Renaissance style, highlighting the elegance of the aquiline nose, the smoothness of the forehead."

Notice how the AI didn't show Isabella Rossellini's teeth. I tried it with a photo where I'm smiling and got the same result:

According to the folks who made AI Portraits, "Portrait masters rarely paint smiling people because smiles and laughter were commonly associated with a more comic aspect of genre painting, and because the display of such an overt expression as smiling can seem to distort the face of the sitter. This inability of artificial intelligence to reproduce our smiles is teaching us something about the history of art."


Here's a smart person deconstructing Steven Mnuchin's dumb speech about cryptocurrencies

17 juillet[ —]

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin made a fortune during the real estate boom when he “rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions.

This unctuous gentleman would like you to believe that Bitcoin is the place where financial crime is happening now, most likely as a way to distract people from the fact that the crimes perpetrated by the major financial institutions owned by his friends dwarf the fraudulent activities around Bitcoin.

Mnuchin really wanted to go after financial fraud, he'd do something about Deutsche Bank. But he won't because he likes his job too much.


Trump and Epstein discuss women

17 juillet[ —]

NBC shared this video.

Back in 1992 Trump and Epstein sure seemed to know one another. Since 1992 both men have independently been accused, multiple times, with criminal behavior towards women, many of them minors.


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